Monday, June 19, 2006

Atonement and Murder

A blogger by the name of Adrian Warnock is a little confused, a little disoriented, he believes that God the Father/the Most High God killed Yahweh, the Lord. A murder has taken place and he's trying to find the culprit. He thinks he has discovered the murderer. Astoundingly the person, or more appropriately the Godhead he accuses is none other than God the Father, the Most High God, the guy, the most esteemed personage who came up with the whole "thou shalt not murder" thing.

Mr. Warnock says:
Until he can understand why we think God killing his son is good news, I do not have any confidence that he will be able to accept the gospel.
This is the kind of thing I think we can rightly call neo-paganism. In pre-Christian pagan religions gods organized their own mob lynchings so that they could bring peace and salvation to their communities. We are the benefactors of 2000 years of Christianity, we now know that the violent laying of our sins on another person is wrong. We now know, because of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, that a mob lynching which was previously believed to have been orchestrated by a god to bring peace/salvation is not a salvific act by that god, but murder on the part of the lynch mob.

I think in the penal substitutionary atonement community that there is a belief that our sins, the sins we are committing today, in some way brought about the death of Christ. Matthew 25, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." I think we can say that if you kill your neighbor, you are killing Christ. If you support the bombing of Iraq, the bombing of Iraqi children, you support the bombing of Christ. We all have our rationalizations about the people we want killed, about how they're really evil, and about how it had to be done and that we had no other choice. We aren't really responsible, it was actually God punishing the designated evil doer. We aren't like those pagans and ancient people who seemed to kill arbitrarily our victims our really evil they deserve it. I'm rambling a little.

God the Father didn't place any sin on Jesus, Jesus absorbed our sin, he took our sins from us, he was a sin magnet. In times of crisis people look for vulnerable people to place their sins and conflict on, to be a substitute. People can't kick their boss, but they can take their frustrations out on their dog, or their wife or their kids. I keep going back to "The Horrible Miracle of Appolonius of Tyana". The poor old mendicant was not a plague demon, he was a poor old mendicant who was murdered. This was miracle, there is no reason to think that this is not a true story. There was crisis, a plague, a lot of conflict and violence in the society. The townspeople placed their sins on this poor old mendicant. They stoned him and murdered him, an innocent man, but they were healed, the plague and the violence disappeared. Each stone was a sin that was laid on upon this innocent scapegoat. The townsfolk believed he was a demon, Christianity says he was human and that a murder was committed.

I'm rambling, but violence is human violence, violent wrath is human wrath. Christ was murdered by humans, we apparently, and almost literally, continue to murder Him through our refusal to take responsibility for our own violence and sin.

No comments: